What are your thoughts about white exceptionalism, guilt, and shame? Have you felt that way?
I don't like them. White guilt and exceptionalism are awful. Yes, guilt can be a motivator, but as the facilitator pointed out, can also be toxic. White Exceptionalism is toxic period. There is no room for that any where. Every white individual is implicated when it comes to racism. Even if we have friends, romantic partners or extended family of color - we have still benefited from a system of oppression that has marginalized BIPOC because they don't fit the "white ideal". No white person is exceptional - not even Jesus, cause he was actually Brown. As far as the shame is concerned, for the most part, shame is not a good way to inspire people to change, if anything it makes people resentful. Having said that, I have my own shame to deal with. And I do find myself resentful. But I don't resent BIPOC, I resent the racist systems that have pit us against each other, that have stopped us from having productive, meaningful conversations, that have stopped us from being neighbors, that have made us question the value of a life. So yes, I am ashamed and though it's not always a useful emotion, it seems to work fairly well for me. So, while I'm privately working through my shame, I'll do my part to tear down and uproot racism.
Have you been driven by toxic white guilt?
I do not believe I have ever been driven toxic white guilt, but I'm white and not impervious to white exceptionalism and it is possible I have been that person who wants to prove themselves a "good white person" and ended up being a jerk instead.